Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stage Two: Raymond, ME

After our exciting debut in Gorham we traveled a bit farther inland to the Lakes Region and the kids' other set of grandparents. A point of order here (if you've known me at all in the last decade or so, I'm sure you've heard this bit. Apologies.): Being on the east coast confuses my compass, I might as well be in Australia. I never realized how much I rely on my internal area map and relation to major bodies of water (i.e. oceans) and mountains. Almost all my life, the ocean has meant West and inland means East, and every time I find myself on the opposite coast I make a fool of myself.

With a baby and a broken arm, we spent our time much closer to home base than is our usual wont, but that's not to say that things lacked excitement. There were frogs and fish to catch almost every day, a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, family and friends galore, lakes to splash around in, and food and food and food. Anatole ate his first two lobsters, swiftly becoming an expert, it's in his blood. And he helped his grandmother make genuine whoopie pies, the official state treat of Maine (not dessert, which is the blueberry pie, they know the important differences between these things over there).

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Even cooler than all that, though, was our visit to grandfather's place of work as a railway engineer. We got a rare and privileged view (though regrettably few pictures, I was so busy just pushing buttons and holding onto babies), and Anatole even got to drive a train down a short section of track, steam blowing and bells ringing and horns a-blowing. It was a sight to remember, a one-armed boy lost behind a giant orange safety vest and face-splitting grin.

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The coup de grace is this much-abused and gnomic sign:

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Stage One: Gorham, ME

At the end of June the kids and I went to Maine. I had flown solo with Anatole several times when he was an infant, so I thought I knew a thing or two about traveling alone with kids. I was wrong, it turns out that I only knew about the peaceful experience of traveling alone with kid, singular, and the overnight cross-country version was an eye-opening experience, so to speak. To be fair, they both behaved extraordinarily well, I felt so lucky, I just did not in any way have enough hands or eyes to get the job done with much dispatch.

But we arrived, gleefully, into the arms of one of my best friends and her darling little boy in their sweet home in Gorham. I am not much of a photojournalist, I tend to only take my camera out (in real life) when there is not much going on, so I miss a lot. I'll have to tell the story, then.

Our first day, we took the ferry out to Peak's Island. It was very windy, which Anaiah loved.

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The boy lost his hat shortly after this photo was taken:

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I actually briefly contemplated whether there was a way for me to fish it out. Crazy person. Then we hit land again and away went the camera in favor of ice cream and sand and an illogically cranky toddler. Just when we hit our stride and were truly relaxing it was time to dash back to the ferry and console ourselves with delicious pizza.

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I love this place, but then so does everyone so I don't know if I'm allowed to say that I love it... New from when we were last here (I think, feel free everyone to tell me how wrong I am) was this 'Before I die I Want to Have..."chalkboard wall. A cute concept, but it was oddly irksome to me because it just wound up reading like everyone's Twitter feeds that you never wanted to read. I think that we are far, far too practiced now at writing anonymous sound bytes for public consumption. Being overly clever/zany/heartfelt/sarcastic/edgy/philosophical just doesn't pack the same wallop that it used to. And of course someone had already taken my stock ├╝berlazy reply of "lived" so I was just so over it.

But this was a hiccup, a minor glitch like the hat overboard. We cavorted, we were on vacation and it was stretched out before us like a long, smooth sunlit road.

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(Hint, foreshadowing.) Roughly an hour later, just after we returned to Jane's house, my lovely, vibrantly happy little boy broke both bones of his right forearm. I didn't take pictures of that either. I also somehow didn't just lean over and vomit up the sickening desperate feeling gripping my gut at the sight of the wrong wrong wrong oxbow in his slender wrist. I gathered him up and ushered everyone back into the car and we drove back to Portland to sample of their emergency medical care. I've had better nights, but morning always shows up again and after all, we still had a vacation to attend to.

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We spent the rest of ours days with Jane in some welcome R&R, chasing chickens and picnics and watching the bullfrogs. Then it was time to move on to Stage Two, where I'll see you again soon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Caught In the Act

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Here I was, living this summer as though the internet didn't exist. As though I had no tales to tell or pictures to show or news to share. Then it crept back up on me at 10:30pm this evening and there was nothing for it but to dig out all those photos I've been hoarding and make some sense of them.

We have been busy.


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(Is it weird I see pictures like this and go, Wow, I'm a MOM?!)
We have gone hither AND yon, done this AND that and I'm trying to eat my weight in ripe peaches because they are gone before you know it. In a few days, when we get back from going wherever it is we're going and having all kinds of fun, I'll tell you all about it. Until then:

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Love always,
me